With 505 horsepower, the Corvette Z06 is certainly nothing to snub, but if you’re looking for the best performance Corvette then the buck stops at the ZR1. [Since its debut at the 1953 General Motors Motorama, Chevrolet’s Corvette has prevailed as America’s sports car and endured as one of the world’s great performance bargains. The scintillating, all-new Grand Sport model arrived in 2010 to fill a niche between the base model and the performance-tuned Z06. With its smooth (and fuel-sipping 26 mpg) 6.2-liter V-8, the Grand Sport will accelerate to 60 mph in less than four seconds and press on to a top speed just shy of 200 mph. And yet, the standard Corvette models aren’t far behind, offering an unparalleled bang for the buck. An array of creature comforts and high-tech accoutrements include a leather-wrapped cockpit, a Bose stereo system, and a digital heads-up display. Also available on the base coupe and convertible is the Z06’s clever bimodal exhaust system, which muffles engine noise during relaxed driving but routes gases through a second, less-restrictive tailpipe when the throttle is applied, increasing output from 430 to 436 horsepower. Those who are looking for a Ferrari killer should turn to range-topping ZR1.
Pros: Accessible, outgoing, and unabashedly American.
Cons: A ’Vette driver has a certain, shall we say, stereotype.